Strong(e)/Strang(e) Research in Britain and Ireland - 2nd Edition

Researching Strong(e)s and Strang(e)s in Britain and Ireland; 2nd Edition (Rootsweb)



(N:Wednesday, June 03, 1998 - 2:00:39 PM
(R: Tuesday, December 16, 2003

This is in the nature of a suggested mission statement regarding the Strong Genealogical Network.  It was originally developed in an attempt to help give some direction to the Members of the Rootsweb Strong-List and the Strong Genealogy Network, as we contemplated the future following the death of our initial "list owner", the late Robert T. Strong. It is re-stated here because it sets out some general principles and ideas which may be useful guidance to members of the Strong Genealogical Network, the Rootsweb Strong-List, and others.

The Strong-List  and Strong Genealogical Network is a major volunteer cooperative, developed, maintained and managed by it's members... some of whom are able to be more active than others, but which is open to any level of participation when and as interested individuals are able to act.

Some time ago, the late Robert T. "BoB" Strong, Jr., the "founder" of the Strong-List, indicated his intention to "retire" in order that he might devote his remaining life to his family and to completion of his work re the Southern Strongs of the United States.  We all owe a debt of thanks to BoB for his herculean efforts in bringing the Strong-List into being. Some of us "jumped aboard" early, back in the days when the list was carried on the Maiser server at the University of Indiana... before the big "server crash", which caused the termination of the Maiser service and transfer of the list to the Rootsweb Cooperative. BoB took us through all of that trauma, kept the list going, subscribing and unsubscribing participants, drawing out "lurkers", giving leadership and direction to the group. He was one of the "instigators" of the amorphous network of web sites we now call the "Strong Genealogical Network". Continuously, through generous application of his inate "Southern Charm" and considerable academic research qualifications, he helped point us at a general goal of sharing and expanding our knowledge of Strong/Strange/L'Estrange/Straughn/etc., genealogy.  Unfortunately, BoB died on Wednesday, January 20, 1999. Now that BoB has left us, we remaining members of the Strong-List must move on as well.

It may be helpful to re-examine our goals.  I think there are at least five goals of the Strong Genealogical Network and members of the Rootsweb Strong-List:

1) Free Collection and  dissemination of family history data to all researchers, putting all information available into the public forum for discussion, etc.  Any errors can be corrected through group contribution and work.

2) Inform descendants about historical family places and sites.

3) Keep everyone informed about Strong/Strange/L'Estrange, etc., family history, goals, activities.

4) Establish a convenient forum and place to discuss and store our various family history.

5) Work toward solutions for what is one of the greatest problems facing genealogists in the Americas and Australia which is how to make the leap back across the ocean, between what is known on our side of the ocean, and what is available in the British Isles.

Generally, we face numerous obstacles... Poor or non-existant records, variant name spellings; illiterate or at least non-communicative ancestors; official disinterest (in the records) of prior locations; our own ignorance of many nuances of British History affecting our searches; our lack of knowledge of existing, available records in the British Isles.... and on and on. What is needed, and what has been developed in the Strong Genealogy Network, is a coordinated effort at compiling known data about the origins of immigrants to the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere from the British Isles, which is colated with known or knowable data about possible points of origins in the homeland. The study needs to be sensitive to the flow of historical background info affecting the impetus for, routes of, and means of transportation.

Much info is out there... and a lot of work has already been done by many persons and groups.... The Strong Genealogy Network represents an effort to bring it together, organize the data and information, and to build upon it. In the past, the SFAA has done a certain amount of work in this regard... but the present attempt is to expand the focus beyond simply a recounting of the lineages of certain Strongs in America.

What we have developed is a new, multi-based group, ready to try to track the various possible lineage sources in Britian, such as:

1) The Breton-Norman L'Estranges, who can be traced from The Battle of Hastings through Shropshire, the West Country Triangle, and on to Scotland, The Isle of Man, and Settlements in the Irish Pale; The Armstrong clan of the Borders region, many of whom may have changed their name to Strong to avoid hanging or transportation or whatever, particularily about the time the Plantations in America and Ireland began; The obvious concentrations of Strongs in certain localities in the IGI... among them, Dorset, Somerset, Cumberlandshire, Fifeshire, Lancashire... and more.

2) Detailed Input and analysis from genealogists in Britian who are knowledgeable about the sources available. Analysis of the various IGI listings to attempt to compile charts of known family groups in Britain and Ireland; attention to variations in spelling; again collation of known data about individuals who immigrated; tracing the schedules over several years of known immigrant ships... (some are known to have landed passengers in America at differing dates, and are known to have sailed from Bristol, Liverpool, and a host of other small outports--- we know some of the detail, can an analysis fill in the blanks?); a process of elimination of data points about known individuals; a computerized data base... lots of detail, and insightful management. Coordinating imput from Britain, Ireland, the Americas, Australia, and whereever... with an ultimate focus in Britain... NOT in the areas emigrated to! The areas of immigration are very important, and much research must yet be done there, however, the research must not stop with the first immigrant who stepped ashore in a land distant from Britain.

What we are talking about is huge. It is long range. And it might in the end be an exercise in futility for many. But, perhaps some useful genealogical evidence can be gleaned and preserved for some or all who are interested.

For some, the loss of records in the U.S. Civil War in the 1860's; the Four Courts fire in Dublin in 1922; the bombing of England during WW II, or other disasters probably dooms inquiry concerning the origins of their Strong ancestors to informed speculation at best. However, they would like to know the history surrounding the migration of members of the family from Britain to various colonies and on. Did they get "planted" in Ireland in 1610, or Virginia after 1607, or Massachusetts after 1620, or Australia after 1820? From Cumbria, or from Bristol, or where? Or were they soldiers awarded land as pay for service with Cromwell? Or did they immigrate from Scotland while fleeing the religious persecutions of Presbyterians by Charles II's ministers? Were George, John and William of "where ever" brothers, cousins, relatives at all? Who likely went where and why? What Chain Migration might have happened? Who was named after whom? What information is available in London that was a copy of something lost in Dublin? What name changes have evolved through the years? What are the variant spellings of the surname? More recently, what DNA evidence can be made available and used? Gleanings from any and everywhere.

Evaluating the evidence and deciding what weight to give to the various elements, and what conclusions can be made about various issues and hypotheses might be assisted by reference to the Standards of Proof suggested elsewhere in this work.

Rome was not built in a day, nor can we hope to build the data base we are talking about in a day... but perhaps we have made a start. The question now is not how but when?! This question is simply posed in hope of stimulating discussion and further research and development of the Strong Genealogy Network.

Back in mid-1997, when we were discussing the idea of creating the Strong Genealogical Network, there were several points which were developed:

1) We all have to be willing to share our research and put it out in public view for comment, critique, and further revision and input from others. That is part of the time honored "Socratic Method" of education... it is a system of researching for the true facts by testing theories through exposure to questioning by others... if the theory stands up under questioning, it may be accepted until something better comes along.  A problem with the method is that we all tend to take pride in our research and theories, and our feelings get bruised in the give and take of questioning under fire. One of the ways of protecting ourselves is to have sources and details supporting our theories throroughly documented and recorded.

2)  We all need to be willing to disclose information and theories, some of which are perhaps not fully developed or "ready", in a manner with which we can feel comfortable.  In an academic setting, "publication" is the manner traditionally used to expose one's theories... publication in a recognized periodical or book format.  Many of us have toyed with the thought that we would like to publish a book presenting what we have developed withour research.  Modernly, one of the problems with this is the cost of publication... which must be weighed against the marketability of the "book" once it is published.  Realistically, the cost probably far out-strips the market for the publication.  That leaves us all with three alternatives... (1)  do nothing; (2) publish a book anyway, and bear the cost ourselves, or (3) share the information with anyone who is interested by whatever other means are out there... and in our case the means available for use is the internet.

Several of the members of the Strong-List have put the above goals and concepts into action through development of the Strong Genealogical Network. When first discussed, the initial thought was to try to put together a central repository for  all data, etc.  William L. "Bill" Strong and others pointed out that the size of the computer storage needed for such a centralized approach would be enormous, it would be cost prohibitive, slow to operate, and require the full time efforts of one or more individuals to construct and maintain. 

Bill Strong's suggestion, which has turned out to be the right one, was to decentralize the concept... create several web sites, each created and maintained by various individuals, and each with a differing "piece of the pie" to present.  The decentralized, or distributed Strong Genealogical Network, takes advantage of available computer storage capacity on servers used by individual members of the Strong-List (such as BoB Strong's Renaisance Operation (?), or "") or supported by advertising, such as Geocities and Tripod.  The cost of the storage is supported by the individual member, or by the advertisers.  Each Web Site Manager has responsibility for the content of his/her own site, and the freedom to manage it anyway he/she wishes... devoting as much or as little time as they wish... and carrying the expense in time and money as they wish.

The current Strong Genealogy Network member web sites are listed and discussed at the SGN Switching Center.

To become part of the network, a website should satisfy all the following criteria:
a)  the site provides information of value to Strong, Strang, Strange, etc. researchers
b)  it is generic, i.e it is not restricted to a single line of Strongs
c)  it contains links to all the other sites on the Strong Genealogy Network
d)  it does not require a membership or other fee: its use is free
The Strong Genealogy Network is a COOPERATIVE network.  We are each operating our respective portions of the network with the understanding and cooperation of the other members of the network.... and that involves RESPECT for the work put into their site by each individual.   Each of us has worked long and hard to develop our sites, and to build the Network concept.  The SGN has received numerous compliments for being one of the best efforts made by any surname list in the Rootsweb Cooperative!  The way to maintain a high standard is to keep up the degree of cooperation and respect which has been a hallmark of the development of our network.  The following guidance is to be adhered to:

1) Since this is a cooperative network of sites, links are encouraged, as is use of other member's .gif and .jpeg images, where not copywrited or trademarked.  However, in each instance, acknowledgement of the source is desirable.
2) Before using any textual material which has been included in HTML coding on one member's page,  beyond creating a link to that page, the creator of the page should be consulted and permission obtained for use of the HTML material on another member's Website.
3) Copywrited and Trademarked material of whatever kind must not be reproduced without permission of the person holding the right to the material.
4) Each member of the Strong Genealogical Network and the Strong-List is encouraged to respect the work and personal feelings of each other member of the SGN, and indeed of others throughout the Internet.  All should attempt to conduct themselves in a manner which will be considerate; not offend others, and respect the property rights of others in their created works, whether copywrited or trademarked, or not.

The RootsWeb Strong-List is a key component in the operation of the Strong Genealogical Network.  The RootsWeb concept involves the "Ownership" of the List by a single individual.  Robert T. "BoB" Strong was the original List Owner.  Some time ago, Theresa Lang volunteered to replace BoB as List Owner for RootsWeb purposes; she has since been replaced by Russell Laird. The RootsWeb FAQ "Mailing Lists" includes a section about listowners that explains their responsibilities and duties. Please visit Mailing Lists

The Strong-List is Managed by a volunteer manager, or "List Owner", Russell Laird. The duty of the Manager is primarily to manage daily administrative details, such as assisting folks to subscribe or to cancel their subscriptions, especially when they send their commands to "STRONG-L" rather than to "STRONG-L-request". This can be done in about 30 minutes per day.  The total transactions (subscriptions plus cancellations) have been totaling less than two per day:  about 50 per month.   Most of these require no intervention by the Manager.

In addition to receiving notifications of new subscriptions and cancelled subscriptions, the Manager also receives all "error messages", many of which are for "bounced" messages.  Most of these notices of bounced messages can be immediately deleted from your message editor/reader with no further action. 

For example, William L. (Bill) Strong's Internet Service Privider, "", may be offline, so all of his messages from the Strong Mail List would be bounced.  In most instances the ISP does not stay offline from more than a few hours, so the problem usually resolves itself.  There is no need to try to send copies of the bounced messages to the persons who did not receive them as the messages are immediately archived and can be retrieved from the archives by the person if they so desire.  This could be done by entering a date into the search criteria, which might look like this example:  "1 and SEP and 98".  Alternatively a Digest Number could be entered.

After an X number of regular messages or a Y number of Digests are bounced, the person is automatically unsubscribed by the Rootsweb server.  X and Y are set by the List Owner in a special Customization (configuration) file on the Rootsweb server that controls each surname or regional mail list.  An automated notice should be  sent to the unsubscribed person (but it will probably bounce, too). The worst that can happen is that a person is removed from the Strong Mail List prematurely and must re-subscribe.

In the past there has been a little difficulty keeping track of these automated cancellations.  Since such records are no longer kept, that is no longer a problem.

Most administrative details can be taken care of online at Rootsweb, but a password is required to access these utilities. The Manager will be notified of the password and the URL in a private message.  After they receive the password they can sign onto the web site and browse around to familiarize themselves leisurely so long as they don't reset anything in the Customization (Configuration) file without consulting with the List Owner.  

List members should not hesitate to communicate with Russell Laird about any questions they may have.  Russ additionally operates his own Laird Mail List, so he is a most experienced List Owner and/or List Manager. 

We have accomplished much in the past several years... coming from a "fledgling" list on the Maiser Server, to more than 200 members on the RootsWeb Server, and several general purpose Strong Genealogical Network Websites, plus numerous personal websites maintained by individual members of the List and others.   We have made a major step forward in presenting our collective research; and in providing directions and assistance for members and others who are interested in Strong/Strange Genealogical Research. 

The foregoing is a summary attempt to state our present position.  The members of the Strong-List and the Strong Genealogy Network are encouraged to use this position paper as a basis for further discussion and development.  I suggest that we need to:

1)   develop some coordinated efforts at research of original records which have not yet been "touched".

2)   continue to improve and expand our existing Strong Genealogical Network.

3)   encourage individual members to come forward to assume managerial roles for the RootsWeb Strong-List.

4)   encourage individual members to establish their own websites, sharing their information with the rest of us.

5)   continue to monitor technological developments which will assist us in improving the network and the research.

6)   assist members and others in learning about and using and applying computer hardware and software which is available for use in researching and presenting the genealogy involved.

7)   provide for long-term management and direction of the Strong-List and Strong Genealogical Network.

8) thought should be given to the new genealogist or the new computer owner or both.  Sometimes information can be provided on a repeat basis that a new person can clearly understand, even though it is standard information to the initiated.

Please consider how YOU can help make this an action plan!  Share your ideas with us!  Help!


David B. "Dave" Strong
Click for contact information.
Website, "Researching Strong(e)s and Strang(e)s in Britain & Ireland"- 2nd Edition (Rootsweb)

Strong Genealogy Network Sites

Please let us know if this discussion has been helpful! We would also appreciate being advised of any possible additions. Contact David B. Strong through the Rootsweb Strong-List.
Created: Wednesday, June 03, 1998 - 2:00:18 PM Previous Update: Wednesday, January 27, 1999 - 4:11:09 PM Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003

Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2003 David B. Strong. Click for contact information.